Nebraska

Tension High at Senate Finance Committee Tax Markup
Timing, lack of notice are big sticking points

With the Senate Finance Committee markup of tax legislation proceeding under something less than regular order, tensions are high between Republicans and Democrats. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Day Three of the Senate Finance Committee tax markup began under a cloud of partisan discord after top Republicans dropped a new version of their tax plan late Tuesday night, making broad changes that Democrats were not consulted on in advance.

The tax writing panel on Wednesday was debating the revised GOP tax plan that would now roll back a central part of the 2010 health care law and make the most significant individual tax benefits in the plan expire after eight years.

Congress Generous, Again, With US Funds for Israel’s Defense
Package for Israeli antimissile systems at near record levels, even as transparency questions swirl

The Israel Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency completed a successful flight test of the Arrow 3 interceptor missile. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Congress is poised to provide Israel with another $705 million for that country’s missile defenses — nearly five times the Trump administration’s request and the second largest annual installment of such aid to date.

The House plans to vote this week to approve a fiscal 2018 national defense policy conference report that would, among its many provisions, authorize the aid to Israel for several antimissile systems. The Senate is expected to follow suit soon and send the bill to the president. And whenever Congress completes work on a defense appropriations bill, lawmakers are highly likely to provide all of that money — and maybe more.

Word on the Hill: Newspaperman
Congressional brews, senator gets civics lesson and World Series bet payoffs

Ben Bradlee, former editor of the Washington Post, returns to his seat as then-President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton look on after Bradlee was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House in 2013. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

HBO’s new documentary “The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee” will make its world premiere in D.C. this evening.

The film is about the late legendary Washington Post executive editor who died in Washington in October 2014 at 93. The film debuts on the network Dec. 4.

What to Watch as 2018 Primaries Inch Closer
It’s never too early: first contests take place in March

Spread out over the first nine months of the year, primaries will set the stage for the 2018 midterm elections in November. These contests will be the first test of each party’s ability to field strong candidates in key pickup opportunities and fend off intraparty challenges. 

The first elections will take place in March. Here’s what to watch for as the primaries pick up. And click here for Roll Call's comprehensive guide to every 2018 election from start to finish.

Word on the Hill: Valor in D.C.
A distinguished Nebraskan, and your social calendar for the week

Screen shot of “Valor” trailer. (Courtesy CW)

Pairing a look at life in the military with an exploration of the opioid crisis, CW’s “Valor” is coming to D.C.

The cast will be at the Milken Institute School of Public Health this evening for a screening for veterans, active duty members and reservists.

Trump’s Stamp on Judiciary Starting: It Could Be Much Faster
With no filibuster and a GOP Senate, he’s got a big opening to reshape appeals courts

The four appellate nominees moving through the Senate this week include, from left, Amy Coney Barrett, Joan Larsen, Allison H. Eid and Stephanos Bibas. Barrett and Larsen have already been confirmed. (Courtesy Screenshot/C-SPAN, Joan Larsen/Facebook, University of Pennsylvania Law School)

While White House officials are subsumed by the fresh intensity of the special counsel investigation, and House Republicans are preoccupied with propping up the tax overhaul, their GOP colleagues in the Senate are focusing on something not nearly as provocative as either of those things — but perhaps almost as consequential over the long haul.

This week, they’re pushing to double, from four to eight, the number of reliable conservatives that President Donald Trump has installed on the federal appeals courts during the opening year of his administration.

Senators to Grill ABA on Rare Thumbs-Down for Grasz
Judiciary Committee members have questions about ”not qualified” rating

Steve Grasz, nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A controversial appeals court nominee from Nebraska, who received a rare unanimous “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, has revived concerns about whether the legal organization is biased. 

The organization has long conducted nonpartisan reviews of federal judicial nominees and rated them for the Senate Judiciary Committee. The vast majority of the time the group finds a nominee “qualified” or “well-qualified,” and has done so even with the numerous controversial judge picks President Donald Trump has made.

Trump, ‘Game of Thrones’ Represented at Tillis’ Halloween Dog Party
North Carolina Republican organized dogs in costume on Capitol Hill

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., lead the Halloween dog parade to the Hart atrium. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., hosted a Halloween party for the books. The main attraction: dogs in costumes. 

The party started outside Tillis’ office on the first floor of the Dirksen Senate Office Building but got too big, so the senator led the group to the Hart Atrium. About 50 dogs showed off their costumes at the event.

Word on the Hill: Trump and the Awkward Buffet
Breast cancer info, a McCain anniversary, and the devilishly handsome Angus King

Samantha Yeider of the Senate Press Gallery, clears a path for Minnesota Sen. Al Franken in the basement of the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s been a hectic week between budget talks, President Donald Trump’s trip to Capitol Hill and Republican senators taking shots at their president.

Then imagine Trump having to fend for himself in a buffet line in front of a roomful of senators, one of whom the president had engaged in a war of words with that morning.

Word on the Hill: Republicans Tour Jordan Airport
Pingree awarded, Veterans History Project discussion, and ‘The Long Road’

New York Rep. John Katko meets refugees at Zaatri refugee camp in northern Jordan. (Courtesy House Homeland Security Committee)

A delegation led by Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., over last week’s recess included a stop in Jordan. The group toured Queen Alia International Airport, the largest airport in the country, to observe aviation security procedures and employee screening.

The U.S. donated passenger screening equipment to Jordan and other countries in 2016 under the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act.